Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Employee Engagement: The New Meaning of Gamesmanship

Employees love to be involved in the business and one of their biggest concerns is the health of the business, because it determines the security of their jobs.

Many companies hold “all-employee” or “Communication” meetings on a regular basis to share results or to discuss topics relevant to all employees, such as safety.  For the managers, it means sharing data (which some hate to do) and time away from what they perceive as more important tasks.  For the employees, it often means an hour of incredibly boring statistics and lecture from the management.

It can be difficult to see how well employees absorb what they’ve been presented, but I’m certain employees retain little of what they’ve seen and heard from these meetings because they’re overwhelmed by the masses of numbers that have been thrown at them.

I tried a different approach at one company.

To present my sales and business development numbers, I structured my presentation around the concept of the game show, “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire”.

We gave a few employees from the floor the opportunity to be “contestants” so they could answer questions about business development.  There were several questions along the lines of “How many new customers did we develop in the latest quarter?”  Each question had 4 possible answers.

Our contestants had support opportunities like “Lifeline”, where they could have a friend help, or “50/50” whereby two incorrect answers were eliminated.  Programming to do this in PowerPoint actually wasn’t all that hard, and it was more than adequate to re-create the gameplay.

When we did the presentation as part of our quarterly communications meeting, the employees ended up getting right into it.  Contestants had the audience shouting out what they thought was the right answer, and it really recreated the atmosphere of the TV show in our cafeteria.

Even though our segment was only supposed to run about 10 minutes, it was the segment the employees voted as most interesting.  They had some fun.  They were involved in the presentation and everyone got to participate in some way.  Best of all, they remembered the statistics we had presented.

Presenting data to employees can be a waste of everybody’s time if the message gets ignored because the way it’s being presented is overwhelming or just plain boring.  To some, it may be hokey to use the game show approach (and it probably isn’t appropriate for some topics), but the WAY in which the information is presented can have a dramatic impact on attentiveness and retention of that information.  If work can be fun, it no longer is drudgery.

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